As we’re pretty sure everyone knows by now, braids are having a major moment. From runway shows to Pinterest and YouTube tutorials, everything from an inverted fishtail to a waterfall braid has been on the mind of the style-savvy as their hairstyle du jour. People in the know don’t even consider braids a trend at this point—they’ve become as ubiquitous as a regular ponytail or your go-to gym bun, and with the right technique, can upgrade a basic updo in five minutes.
That said, it befits us to not only know our French braids from our Dutch braids, but to also know our way around other looks, like how to do a waterfall braid. Check out our #wcw hairstyle of the moment:
How to do a waterfall braid step by step
Start on clean or freshly washed hair.
Prep hair by washing with a wash and care system that gets rid of dirt while making hair appear fuller, such as Suave Professionals Collagen Shampoo and Conditioner. Spritz strands with a heat protectant, like TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray, before blow-drying. This sets up the stage for a fab, juicy braid. Power-dry with a blow-dryer till hair is at least 90 percent dry.
Create loose curls.
Wrap sections of your hair loosely around a large curling iron barrel (around 1 1/2 to 2″). Start at the mid-length and twirl more tightly towards the ends, curling away from your face.
Begin a French braid on your hairline.
Part your hair as desired (we like a side part for this look) and start your French braid at the fringe area, moving from your part to the opposite ear. To achieve, pinch one section from the top hairline, one section from the middle crown and one section from just above the starting ear. Weave the top section into the remaining two till you make one chain, then drop the hair before starting a new chain altogether (hence the “waterfall” look). Pinch a new section from the top hairline with each new chain, but still using the old two bottom sections throughout.
Cross the back lock over the middle lock, then the front lock over the middle lock. Next, cross the back lock over the middle lock again, then gather a fresh lock from behind the back lock and have it join the middle—exactly as if you were doing a French braid.
Next, cross the front lock over the middle and gather a fresh section from your hairline. Cross the back lock over the middle lock and bring in a fresh lock from further behind. Repeat your regular braid, but stop before you cross the front lock over the middle… and just drop it. Gather a lock from behind that dropped section and instead use that to cross over the middle lock. Repeat the entire process for a few chains, using the “drop and replace” method.
Secure your ends.
Continue French-braiding till you reach the opposite ear. Switch into a regular three-strand braid past the ear and secure the ends with a hair tie.
Pancake the braid by gently pulling any tight loops for a voluminous boho feel, and then spritz your entire head with hair spray to set the style. We like how Love Beauty and Planet Light Hold & Frizz Control Coconut Milk & White Jasmine Light Hold Hair Spray keeps strands touchable and frizz-free yet in place without flattening out the plaits. You’re all set and ready to turn heads!
Waterfall Braids to Try
1. Waterfall Fringe Braid
Try out a unique version of the waterfall braid. Braid your hair across your forehead, incorporating your fringe into the style.
2. Loose Waterfall Braid
This cute, trendy plait works great with medium to long hair and is especially pretty on highlighted strands. Plus, it’s perfect for upping the ante on your music festival hair game! Bonus: If you’ve got funky, pastel or sea-hued strands, so much the better! Begin your braid where your ombré starts for a true “waterfall” effect. Enjoy!
3. Waterfall Braid on Curly Hair
A waterfall braid looks great on any hair type. Show off your curly locks with a boho-inspired style.
4. Straight-Haired Waterfall Braid
Looking for a new style that works well with straight hair too? The waterfall braid will be your new best friend. Doing this style on straight hair makes the braid stand out even more.
5. Waterfall Half-Updo
It never hurts to try out new variations of a go-to style. For a fancier look, opt for a waterfall half-updo, instead of brushing your hair back into a regular half ponytail.